Barbara's Random Thoughts

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You are old, Father William

I have encountered one of the signs that I am getting old. (Cue the inevitable T.S. Eliot reference.) I'm getting reluctant to admit my age.

I've never been sensitive about my age, at least not in the "I'm old" sense. For most of my life, people have assumed that I'm younger than I am. I was offered under-12 discounts well into jr. high and even high school. I got mistaken for a freshman several times during grad school.

I'm also used to being the youngest one. I'm the youngest child in my family, in every sense of the word. My closest sibling is 6 1/2 years older than I am. My mother is the youngest of 4, and my dad is the youngest but one of 5, so all of my cousins are older by quite a bit. As in: some of my cousins have kids that are older than I am.

I was one of those annoying home-schooled kids who graduated from high school early. As a result, all through college, my friends were mostly older. Same thing with my classmates in grad school.

But it seems that the average age of my friends has shifted in the past few years. My roommate Julie and I had a running joke a while back that everyone was 24. Except for us. That year we had a combined birthday party and titled the Evite "Not 24 Anymore." It was my 27th birthday. And now I'm 28, and I'm noticing that I'm in more and more groups where I am on the older end of things. In the past couple months, there have been occasions when people have asked me how old I am, and it's made me uncomfortable to admit it.

I remember getting my sister a birthday card that I thought was hilarious—she was probably in her mid-20s at the time. It listed several signs of growing old, among them:

-Your first car dies. (My first car died during my junior year of college. Check.)
-Retail employees start calling you "ma'am" instead of "miss." (Check.)
-You stop getting carded. (Check.)

(Add to this: coworkers assume that you are married when you are not.)

However, all is not lost. For dinner last night, I had chips & salsa followed by a bowl of Moose Tracks ice cream. Anyone who thinks this is an acceptable dinner can't be old yet. Right? I'm 28 and I eat junk for dinner! And I am proud!

Maybe I should grow my hair out long again and wear it in a ponytail. That used to make me look about 14. Think it would still work?
| posted by Barbara | 1:13 AM